Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats


jx        MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

ridiculous still, the wrapping oneself up in hot flannels and
woollen sweaters after the game on a hot summer day. Why
all the bother? He reflects. He remembers he used to enjoy
it himself, but then he was young and immature and he was
not himself. It was but a passing fancy, and he has not really
the instinct for sport. No, he is born differently; he is born
for kowtowing and for quiet and peace, and not for football
and the dog-collar and table napkins and efficiency. He some-
times thinks of himself as a pig, and the Westerner as a dog,
and the dog worries the pig, but the pig only grunts, and it
may even be a grunt of satisfaction. Why, he even wants to
be a pig, a real pig, for it is really so very comfortable, and he
does not envy the dog for his collar and his dog-efficiency and
his bitch-goddess success. All he wants is that the dog leave
him alone.

That is how it is with the modern Chinese as he surveys
Eastern and Western culture. It is the only way in which the
Eastern culture should be surveyed and understood.  For he
has a Chinese father and a Chinese mother,  and every time
he talks of China, he thmlca of his father and his mother or of
the memories of them. It was a life, their lives, so full of courage
and patience and suffering and happiness and fortitude, lives
untouched by the modern influence, but lives no less grand
and noble and humble and sincere. Then does he truly under-
stand China. That seems to me to be the only way of looking
at China, and of looking at any foreign nation, by searching,
not for the exotic but for the common human values, by pene-
trating beneath the superficial quaintness of manners and look-
ing for real courtesy, by seeing beneath the strange women's
costumes and looking for real womanhood and motherhood, by
observing the boys' naughtiness and studying the girls' day-
dreams. This boys* naughtiness and these girls' day-dreams and
the ring of children's laughter and the patter of children's feet
and the weeping of women and the sorrows of men—they are all
alike, and only through the sorrows of men and the weeping of
women can we truly understand a nation.   The differences
are only in the forms of social behaviour. This is the basis of
all sound international criticism.